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All But My Life  By  cover art

All But My Life

By: Gerda Weissmann Klein
Narrated by: Grace Conlin
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Publisher's Summary

A classic of Holocaust literature, Gerda Weissmann Klein's celebrated memoir tells the moving story of a young woman's 3 frightful years as a slave laborer of the Nazis and her miraculous liberation. All But My Life stands as the ultimate lesson in humanity, hope, and friendship. Klein's memoir is the basis for the HBO Academy Award-winning best documentary short, One Survivor Remembers.
©1995 by Gerda Weissmann Klein (P)1997 by Blackstone Audiobooks

Critic Reviews

"Soul-searching and human...A moving personal testament to courage." (The New York Times)
"...as sensitive and 'disturbing' a story as The Diary of Anne Frank." (Library Journal)

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What listeners say about All But My Life

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

All But My Life

I hesitated for over a year from writing a review of Gerda Weissmann Klein's -All But My Life- for the strange but simple reason that this book is my favorite book of the Holocaust and I simply could not put the phrase -favorite book of the holocaust- into print. The Holocaust is something beyond ordinary human experience and I lack the proper means to express the gravity with which I feel about it. I have listen to most everything Audible has on Holocaust literature: Night, Day, The Nazi Officer's Wife, Defying Hitler, Schindler's List, Anne Frank, and have read many more. Gerda's story appeals to me precisely because I cannot relate to her. She has a purity of soul and a set of survivor skills that I simply do not have. It also helps that she was rescued and had a good life in America after the war. Anything positive in these accounts is very welcome indeed to a reader. A word to the wise, at any one time, be careful how much Holocaust literature you read. Regarding the narration, I did not require authentic European accents or pronunciations, only that I understood what was being said, in English, and the narrator provided this in a dignified and attractive style. MB

17 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

Nearly Unbearable Reading of a Good Book

This book was so poorly read, that I was forced to do something I would never do - write a review. I just thought people had to know. If you want to learn about this amazing life story, unless you absolutely don't have the time to read it, please get the book. I felt the speaker was too lacking in emotion. It seemed like she was unhappy with going to work, and took the task of reading this heartfelt story of tragedy and hope with the tone of someone merely doing a job. She would have inflections in her voice, but at times they seemed on cue, in a sort of missed cue sort of way. For example, there as a section in the book where a small girl is yelling at a bread maker, calling him crazy for saying something she found unbearable to hear. It sounded like a robot speaking. I'm sorry, and mean no offense, but this was a difficult book to sit through, and found myself avoiding it, even though I wanted to hear the story, as my grandfather was in a camp for a short time.

11 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Compelling listen, lest we forget!!

Compelling listen, excellently written, and superbly narrated. My parents lived through the holocaust and this book made me feel what my mother must have gone through. Grace Conlin does a superb rendition. Her voice is calm and controlled with the right touch of emotion so you believe that you are there through Gerda Weissmans eyes. I met and heard Gerda Weissmann, some time after she wrote this book, and although Mrs. Weissmann Klein has a mild European accent Grace Conlin manages to reflect her demeanor and outlook. I recommend it to everyone lest we forget.

10 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

One of the best...

This is an incredibly well written book. Gerda Weissmann Klein tells her story with such simple words and heartfelt honesty, that I often felt overwhelmed by the clarity of her descriptions, and the hopelessness of her situation. Just as heart-wrenching as the "Diary of Anne Frank," Mrs. Klein's story is one that I will ponder and reflect on for the rest of my life. After reading this, how any of us would ever again indulge in any form of prejudice, is truly confounding.
I found Grace Conlin's dignified reading perfectly suited to the author's character.

9 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Loved the book, hated the narrator

This is my first review even though I have listened to many audible books and I love them. This was one of those stories I couldnt stop listening to, although the narrator did bother me. She ended every sentence with the same exact inflection. Her "voices" were horrible, Gerda sounded like Minnie Mouse many times. I understand that Ms. Weismann-Kline would have a european accent as well as that particular Jewish diction, but I have heard many of these and NONE of them sounded like this lady. That aside, this book is a DONT MISS, especially if you are interested in the Holocaust - I dont know if Gerda is still with us, but I send her and her family much, much love and respect and thank her for her courage and honesty. I will never forget you...

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Unforgettable

Excellent. This book, in my mind, seemed much longer than 10 hours. That is to say that listening to it was a deeply meaningful experience. I had dreams about it later. The narrator's voice was resonant and somber--I'm surprised that some readers didn't like it. This is an uncommon and captivating book, and its a great opportunity to be able to listen to it.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Enlightening

I always marvel at people who perserve through unspeakable horrors, yet manage to overcome, grow, and suceed. I liked the slow speed of the reader, it made me feel as if I were in the room with Mrs Klein as she was retelling her memories.

5 people found this helpful

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Heart wrenching yet beautiful

I am without words as I try and review this book. I was brought to tears more times than not, horrified during most of the book, and yet, couldn’t stop listening to this authors retelling of a most horrific time in history. I could see, hear, feel throughout the book what the author was experiencing. When I listened to the life she had and how she coped after her liberation, I could have just cried. This book needs to be a part of everyone’s library. I am honored to have come across it and honored that Mrs Klein shared her story with me.

3 people found this helpful

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I can hear some sort of talking in the background

the story is great. the reading is great but I wonder what this talking in the background is. I cant make out any of the words, but it super annoying.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Incredible, heartbreaking, moving.

Written with so much heart, I was emotional throughout this journey. Narrator did excellent job.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Ruthie76
  • 03-19-17

Let down by narrator.

I wished I'd read this..opposed to listened to it via Audible. The woman narrating has the most awful robotic monotone voice ever. She truly is awful. The tone and lilt in her voice are all wrong. You have to hear her to believe it though. If you can overcome her voice, the book itself is horrifying but at the same time awe-inspiring, a first had account of what happened to millions of Jews during WWII. A story that should never be forgotten.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Annie Oakley
  • 01-16-17

Monotone Narrator

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

The narrators monotone voice got on my nerves. Could not really get into the story either.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Colin
  • 08-25-07

An exellent listen

This was a wonderful story of courage and stoicism and how the human spirit can endure. The author told her story with clarity and courage

3 people found this helpful

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  • ProjectGreen
  • 08-31-21

A humbling and worthwhile story

Many people complained about the narrator on this audiobook -- but the issue is easily resolved by increasing the speed to 1.3-1.4x.
Gerda's story is truly inspiring. Her resilience and mental strength to overcome the horrors she had to face is incredible. I definitely recommend this honest, sobering and hope inspiring book.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • D. Brown
  • 06-26-13

A beautifully related memoir

Any additional comments?

Gerda Weissman Klein’s memoir of her life during World War II is harrowing to say the least. Separated from her loved ones, surrounded by fear and tragedy, Gerda’s life is turned upside down overnight and she faces years of anguish, pain and grief. Despite it all she retains an immense sense of what is right and fair, often putting the needs of others above her own and often putting her own life at risk in order to stand up for her principles.

Although the details given in Gerda’s account do not feel watered down by any means, you can’t help but think that even though her recollections are horrific, there’s much more that she has chosen not to share and can only be stunned by her bravery and determination. She loses everything – all but her life and her spirit.

One of the most remarkable aspects of the story is the advice Gerda is given by her father to wear her winter walking boots one day: advice that will prove to be lifesaving. If it had been a novel, it would have seemed like one of those quaint coincidences that ties a book together but knowing that this is an autobiographical tale actually makes this incredibly poignant. Even though I finished the book a couple of weeks ago, every time I think about it I remember those boots and how her father’s last piece of advice would be, literally, life-saving.

It is impossible for me to give All But My Life anything other than five stars. This is a beautifully related memoir: despite the overwhelming sense of tragedy and pain, Gerda’s will to survive and determination to keep not only herself going but others as well is utterly heart-wrenching. Although I have never been a huge fan of autobiographies, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this. It is a story that must be told and it is a time that we must never, ever forget.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-21-22

don’t bother

the narrator shouldn’t have been employed as she’s soo monotoned , boring and uninterested in the story, gave up after a couple of minutes after the initial drivel

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Andy
  • 05-10-22

Thank you for sharing your story.

I loved this book although it seems strange to love such a harrowing story but it is well told and a very necessary reminder of the holocaust. The narrator takes time to get used to and the tip to play at 1.01 speed greatly improves it and after a while she seems to fit a bit better with a sort of haunting wistful quality.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Laly37
  • 03-27-22

what a poignant story

in simple words the horrors are described but always at the center the humanity in the little things. no better, no worth than anyone else. just a human trying to survive. the book got me on the verge of crying several times. highly recommended.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Lindaloo
  • 03-20-22

A memoir of strength, survival, bravery & family love

Words can’t convey how I feel listening to Gerda’s life, thank you for telling it, it’s quite shocking how brutal some humans can be, and how brave those who helped were, the narration was perfect.

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  • grahame.douglas
  • 02-14-22

Fantastic read

Fascinating book with a great insight into how people can treat other people with no regard for life.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 09-26-22

A MUST Read!

Listening while working at home, I have listened to many chapters over and over because I didn't want to miss a thing!
Gerda has written this personal and historic account so beautifully that hours go by and I hardly notice. The narrator is so perfectly tuned in...Well done Grace Conlin your reading of Gerdas astonishing discrace of humanities dirty, filthy behaviour in their treatment of these unfortunate people, moved me to heartwrenching tears, many times over.
On the other hand, the love and loyalty and strength the girls gave each other was humbling in the face of their daily, hourly, struggles.
Every school should have this book in their curriculum. Every human should know this story...I am so sorry this happened and acknowledge the Jewish Community for your loss and horrific treatment...no words can convey the enormity of my despair for your experience. I am deeply humbled by Gerdas strength of character. All my love, Jeannie